A statement from his family reads, “Bernie Tormé passed away peacefully on the 17th March 2019, one day short of his 67th birthday, surrounded by his family. He had been on life support for the past four weeks at a London hospital following post-flu complications. Bernie will be remembered for dedicating his life to his music for five decades. He will be sorely missed.”
After playing in a few bands in his native Dublin as a teenager, Tormé moved to London, where he joined the heavy rock band Scrapyard, and formed his own punk group, the Bernie Tormé Band.
In 1979, Tormé joined then former Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan in his solo band, Gillan, appearing on three of the act’s studio albums — Mr. Universe, Glory Road, and Future Shock — plus the live half of Double Trouble. He left the band in 1981 over a money dispute, and was replaced by Janick Gers, who would later join Iron Maiden.
Then, in 1982, Tormé was hired to replace the late Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osbourne’s band, but only lasted a few shows when it was determined that his bluesy style wasn’t a great fit. He was replaced by Brad Gillis.
The guitarist would continue making music in the ensuing years, briefly becoming a member of Atomic Rooster in 1983 and joining Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider’s band Desperado in the late ’80s.
Tormé remained active up until his death, releasing several solo albums under his own name, including his most recent disc, Shadowland, which came out in November of last year.
Update: Ozzy Osbourne has issued the following statement via Twitter: “What a sad day. We’ve lost another great musician. Bernie was a gentle soul with a heart of gold. He will be dearly missed. I send my sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans. Rest in Peace Bernie.”
Our condolences go out to Bernie Tormé’s family, friends, and bandmates during this difficult time. See Tormé performing with Gillan in 1982, and with his solo band this past November below:
What a sad day. We’ve lost another great musician. Bernie was a gentle soul with a heart of gold. He will be dearly missed. I send my sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans. Rest in Peace Bernie. pic.twitter.com/Nx1bCiYbkO
— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) March 18, 2019